Now that the hard part is done (the surgery), it’s now time to face the world and get out and about with your stoma bag may that be shopping, work, the gym etc! I’m often asked about this so I think it’s important to talk about this and shed some light on what it’s really like. Did I plan every step of where I was going, where there would be toilets incase something happened like my bag filing quickly? Yes I did! 

Leaving the house for me was really tough at the beginning. I didn’t want to go anywhere myself and always had someone with me for many reasons. I was afraid of running into someone I knew and them noticing my bag, I thought in my own head every one knew and could see it. I was worried it would leak and I couldn’t cope with it and would have a melt down. I worried the toilets wouldn’t have the facilities I needed to change my bag. I worrried if I used a disable toilet people would look at my funny and this all actually stopped me from going anywhere at the beginning.

I started to miss out on things I wanted to do. I felt like I was letting my boys down as I wasn’t taking them anywhere and in return this was making me feel worse so I knew i had to do something. I started councilling to help me over come and deal with the things I was thinking and from here I started to make small journeys. I always have an emergency kit with me just incase. Each time I would try to be out of the house for longer periods of time. My next step was to empty my bag in a public toilet which there was no issues with again this was all worries in my head. Once I got quite confident doing these things I decided I needed to something that had me out of the house all day even just once a week so I booked on to do a one day course and to be honest this was the best thing I could have done as it helped me face so many fears and over come them one by one. Having to be out all day, eating out so choosing foods I could eat with my stoma, my bag filling up and having to use the toilets, bumping into people I knew and so on.

Once I began to think differently in my head and actually not over think things it all became easy. Having the attitude “what’s the worse that can happen” was key for me and being out in these situations and having to face them face on then took the worry out of it for me.

I have now been on many holidays and nothing phases me anymore about leaving the house with my stoma bag. I am in control of my stoma bag it does not control me and this is such a powerful statement to keep in mind especially at the beginning of your journey.

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